Steve Bates started lampworking back in 1998 when he was 15. His high school art teacher had installed soft-glass bead torches in the art room. Steve was immediately smitten, spending hours making glass beads, sometimes skipping other classes to do so. At 17, he was lucky enough to meet Clint Croxford, a skilled pipe maker, while attending Hempstock in Maine. In the following years, the two maintained a connection and, by 2003, Steve managed to work his way into Maine’s circle of glassblowers.
“I started doing prep in another artist's garage doing prep,” Steve says. “I couch-surfed surfing around, but the bulk of my core pipe knowledge came from Clint.”
Steve has become an award-winning glass artist. One of his brilliantly colored pieces even wound up on the cover of HIGH TIMES back in March 2009. Like most artists, Steve can’t imagine life without his medium. "I’m nearing my 11th year of pipe making now,” he says. "It scares me to think of what I would be doing if I wasn't blowing glass!"
Check out Steve's work below!
This sleek bubbler with a twisty neck is a prime example of Steve's artistry.
Finely detailed dab dishes are one of Steve's specialties.
Steve performs a demo in Maine.
Another bubbler with Steve's unique detailing.
At the 2012 Glass Roots Flameoff, Steve and fellow artist Worm created a flamethrower.
Steve's multi-colored bubbler graced the cover of the March 2009 issue of HIGH TIMES.
Steve tests out his freshly made triple-necked bubbler with a few volunteers.
Glass pendants by Steve are a coveted commodity.
Steve created this unique bubbler which he named "Pussyjar."